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In hurricane season does ship size matter?


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I was reading some of the posts on cruising in hurricane season - the question came to mind if it matters what size ship to cruise on during this season - as far as which one would be rougher?

 

In the same storm - same wind and waves - would the smaller ships in the HAL fleet feel rougher to the passengers than the larger ships?

 

thanks.

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We were on a Vista ship last fall, the Westerdam, when we ran into a tropical storm. Waves were in the 27-foot range.

 

I woke up one night out of a deep sleep when the ship was riding up the waves and slamming down into the water. It was very frightening. We were all the way forward -- not sure if that made a difference.

 

I have never felt that motion before in a large ship -- only in a powerboat! :D

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I woke up one night out of a deep sleep when the ship was riding up the waves and slamming down into the water. It was very frightening. We were all the way forward -- not sure if that made a difference.

 

You're right. This is the problem with the forward cabins. We had one once and only once. You get this 'slamming' in even moderate seas. After all you are leading right into the waves and taking them full force. :eek:

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I was always under the impression that what really counts is the ships draft (the depth of the ship below the water line). Many of the new megaships have a shallow draft allowing them to dock instead of tendering, but this also could give a bit more of a rocky ride as opposed to those ships with a deeper draft.

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The larger ships do tend to ride better in storms - mainly by virtue of their longer hull which can bridge waves better than shorter hulls.

Ships w/ deeper drafts and more sculpted hulls such as Prinsendam, will also weather rough seas better than shallower draft/boxier hulls (like most modern newbuilds, such as the S-Class)

 

Bear in mind that rough seas are everywhere and at all times of the year - not just hurricane season in the Carib.

Look at the reports coming back from Ryndam and Oosterdam up the Pacific Coast this past week...

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Size by itself is not nearly as important as hull shape, depth of keel, and fineness of hull (length/beam ratio).

 

Some large ships, like Princess' Grand class, do not ride well in heavy seas (force 8 and above). Although big, they are very beamy, relatively flat-bottomed, and have blunt prows. Princess' former Royal Princess, now P&O's Artemis, at 45,000GRT rides much better than the Grand class at 110,000GRT.

 

Ships with blunt prows tend to climb the waves, rather than cut through them.

 

I don't think Maasdam and her sisters ride very well in heavy seas either, but Prinsendam should be a good rider, based on her hull design, even though she is much smaller than Maasdam.

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Size by itself is not nearly as important as hull shape, depth of keel, and fineness of hull (length/beam ratio).

 

What all of you have said is wonderful info - great "food for thought" -- where would a person find the above info on a ship -- just have to dig around and figure it out or is it posted in descriptions of ships?

 

I find this very interesting........get sea sick rather easily and might (or maybe not...) want to try to figure out what ships in each cruise line would be more stable.

 

Thank you for sharing your knowledge -- others will probably find this info interesting and helpful as well.....so keep sharing!

 

Thanks!

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I was on the Volendam during Wilma and Alpha -- we played cat and mouse with both storms the whole 10 days and followed Wilma into Florida (had to go to Port Canaveral as Fort Lauderdale Airport and Port Everglades were closed on disembarkation day). We were actually never in really difficult seas -- most of the time it was completely smooth as the Captain diverted our course to avoid these major storms.

 

On the other hand, in December on the Maasdam we were in better than 20 foot seas and better than gale force winds (waves that broke as high as the Crow's Nest) on our last day back to Norfolk.

 

Going out in hurricane season does not mean or guarantee high seas -- it does risk missed ports, changes of itinerary and possibly not making it home in time when a large storm is in the way of the ship's intended path. Cruise ships have radar and lots of weather info and avoid the awful stuff when possible.

 

Seas can happen anywhere, at any time. The closer you berth to the center of mass of the ship the better the ride as the ship will pitch and sway around the center of mass. In all likelihood the center of mass of the ship is just below and behind the center of the vessel (figuring both up to down, and side to side), depending on the location of the engines which contain quite a bit of the ship's mass. If you have to ride at one end or the other, the bow is usually worse than the stern as the ship's heavy engines are usually in or close to the stern. Those real expensive suites, at the top of the ship, close to the bow will, in all likelihood, have a difficult ride in heavy seas. If you ever look at the deck diagrams of the old, classic, liners you will find that the most expensive real estate on those ships was pretty much mid-ships for that reason.

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As a part of this thread RE: riding out the storms, I saw a show on Discovery Channel awhile back about the "Swath" designed hull. This is a twin hulled design that tends to cut thru the waves by keeping the centre of gravity below the normal wave action. this is a link to the developers.

http://www.swath.com/concept.htm

 

Does anyone know of any cruise ships that have gone this route?

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As a part of this thread RE: riding out the storms, I saw a show on Discovery Channel awhile back about the "Swath" designed hull. This is a twin hulled design that tends to cut thru the waves by keeping the centre of gravity below the normal wave action. this is a link to the developers.

http://www.swath.com/concept.htm

 

Does anyone know of any cruise ships that have gone this route?

 

The one and only former Radisson Diamond - don't know who she belongs to or what her name is now.

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Bear in mind that rough seas are everywhere and at all times of the year - not just hurricane season in the Carib.

Look at the reports coming back from Ryndam and Oosterdam up the Pacific Coast this past week...

 

Could you tell me if the Oosterdam was going up the coast of US or was it closer to Alaska? We will be leaving Seattle on May 20 and my hubby gets very ill onboard a rough ship. I have already gotten his supply of meds that I will pack for him.

 

Missygirl:)

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Hi MissyGirl....I believe they landed in Vancouver....you can see the details at JHannah's thread entitled " 26' swells...75 mph winds...It was a fun night" ....

 

not my idea of fun !!!

 

can anyone tell me at what point do the big ships find shelter and wait out a storm? 26' waves doesn't do it? sheesh :eek:

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can anyone tell me at what point do the big ships find shelter and wait out a storm? 26' waves doesn't do it? sheesh :eek:

Don't know that a ship ever actually stops sailing in rough seas. I do remember Captain Mercer re-routing the Ryndam around to the lee side of an island we were passing as we were crossing the Drake Passage in very, very rough seas.

I also remember 38 consecutive hours of 45' seas off Greenland. And the captain had skirted away from the storm to calmer waters!

26' waves really isn't that bad compared to how it can get.

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Could you tell me if the Oosterdam was going up the coast of US or was it closer to Alaska? We will be leaving Seattle on May 20 and my hubby gets very ill onboard a rough ship. I have already gotten his supply of meds that I will pack for him.

 

Missygirl:)

 

They were just repositioning up the coast from SF to Vancouver when they ran into the weather - tho rough seas aren't unheard of in the Gulf of Alaska.

Better bring the meds...

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For those wanting the least "motion on the ocean" the best place to be on the ship is on a low deck about two thirds of the way back. That is where the pivot point will be as far as pitch is concerned. Pitch is the up and down motion of the bow. The pivot point is located that far back to keep the propellers deep under water as much as possible. The best "ride" is at the bow. The up and down motion will be about twice the motion of the stern. Modern cruise ships no longer "roll" from side to side. The stabilizers prevent roll of more than one or two degrees. The really irritating motion of the modern cruise ship is the shuddering that takes place as the stabilizers prevent the natural motion of the ship in heavy seas. Personally, as an old Navy salt, I prefer the predictible natural motion of the ships before the addition of the stabilizers. But I have very good sea legs and don't get seasick.

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